Zack Torquato played in his 200th professional game on Sunday afternoon, and the Wheeling Nailers’ leading scorer made sure to make it a memorable game for his squad. He and Anton Zlobin both lit the lamp before the game was three minutes old, and Torquato netted a shorthanded tally later in the contest, as the Nailers upended the Cincinnati Cyclones, 4-2 at US Bank Arena.
Feeding off of the momentum of Saturday’s win in Fort Wayne, the Nailers wasted little time in taking the lead on Sunday. With 1:52 expired on the clock, Matt Grassi teed up a slap shot from the right point. Anton Zlobin got his stick on the shot, redirecting it into the net for his second goal in as many nights. 16 seconds later, Wheeling added to the lead, when Zack Torquato waited out Michael Houser, before flipping a shot into the right side of the goal. The Cyclones got one goal back, with 6:17 remaining, when Dan Eves picked up the rebound of Chris Reed’s shot off of the end boards, jamming it into the right side of the cage.
Early in the second period, the Nailers regained their two-goal lead, by netting their first shorthanded marker of the campaign. Torquato stole the puck in neutral ice, and after having his initial pass blocked, was able to gather the puck back, finding the twine for his second goal of the afternoon. 53 seconds later, Cincinnati answered, as Eves sped down the left side, putting a shot on goal that was padded away. However, the rebound deflected out to Josh Birkholz, who recorded the tally. With 5:44 to go, Wheeling struck again. Sahir Gill let a wrist shot go from the blueline that got blocked to Scott Zurevinski, who flipped in a backhander, for a power play goal and a 4-2 advantage for the visitors.
The third period was a defensive stalemate, which turned out to be great news for the Nailers, as they secured the 4-2 victory – their first win in Cincinnati under Clark Donatelli, who is now the fifth winningest coach in team history.
Mike Condon backstopped another win in goal for Wheeling, making 27 saves on 29 shots. Michael Houser took the loss for the Cyclones, surrendering four goals on 22 shots.
The Nailers and Cyclones will meet again on Wednesday in Cincinnati at 7:30. Wheeling’s next home game takes place on November 30th against the Toledo Walleye.